My first D&D experience was with a magical little red box – Mentzer Basic D&D in 1983. Magical because, like Star Wars six years earlier, it defined my youth and young adult hood. Holmes and Moldvay, they are more recent discoveries, ones I never knew existed as a child.
Through secondary school I played a mismatch of Mentzer Basic D&D / Cook Expert D&D (dreamed of reaching Mentzer Companion Set) and lots of 1e AD&D. Unearthed Arcana – I scrimped and saved for you baby.
In my early 20s, toward the end of my D&D experience, I played sporadic AD&D and started to write that fantasy novel we all seem to have started but never finished. The only difference is I am still writing (and rewriting) the same novel 20 years later. Luckily writing is an old man’s sport; all my other dreams – astronaut, sporting captain (as if), saving the world- have past me by.
Moving to the United Kingdom started a revival in my 2nd love. What else do you do in a nation of obsessive collectors? Finally a chance to read the D&D modules / books I could never afford as a child. Thank you eBay.
Sure I dabbled with Warhammer, collected some miniatures, tried to entice a few reluctant friends to play but D&D is where my imaginative heart lives.
My first awareness of the Old School Renaissance / Revival (OSR) was stumbling across Richard Tongue’s Fanzine OD&Dities. Wow – he published some good stuff. I even submitted an article to him – The Resurrection Society – just as he went into slumber after Issue 12. When OD&Dities awoke this year I resubmitted the article and Richard published it in Issue 15 and even paid me for my words! My first paid piece as a writer.
See my dream of being a fantasy writer isn’t totally unrewarded – just won’t be giving up the day job anytime soon.
OD&Dities went sadly back to sleep after Issue 15 – sorry Richard, I hope you don’t regret buying my submission.
More recent inspirations are well known to the OSR community.
And my daily bread - JB's B/X Blackrazor.
My copy of B/X Companion is now a proud part of my D&D canon. JB has been kind enough to respond to a few of my emails over the last few months when I showed him some of the stuff I have made following his inspiration. He asked if I have a blog or something to share my work. And so – here it is.
Blog Purpose Number 1: Share my stuff
In my own small way I hope I can offer something back to the OSR, which has rekindled my 2nd love. I have provided download links to ‘My Stuff’ and I hope to explain over the coming weeks my design notes.
But it’s playing the game that really inspires the creative impulse.
I want to play again. Not necessarily a long campaign (though one can dream) but just once more unto the breach dear friends.
But where to find the friends… and what to play? I have settled on the B/X classic: B2 The Keep on the Borderlands.
Hence the title of my blog – the infamous priest in Keep location 7b.
I have never played / dungeon mastered B2 before but hope to DM it this winter.
Gathering friends won’t be easy. Most of my friends have never played. These are some of the comments I have received to date.
“There was a reason I never played Dungeons and Dragons as a teenager. That reason hasn’t changed.”
“There are some lines I won’t cross.”
“Science fiction yes, fantasy never.”
“Ok, anything for a night out.”
“Alright we’ll do it for you.”
But that’s the plan.
Blog Purpose Number 2: Blog my attempt to DM KotB
So no plan to change the world; no plan to blog forever.
When it’s over it will be over.
We’ll see how far we get…